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Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

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Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby OWELL » Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:52 am

Hey.

As i am coming closer to finishing my home studio, i am looking for a new microphone. Im fairly new to music production, but i do have basic knowledge of it laid down.
I am looking for that one mic, that would be good for everything i throw at it, but mostly i would use it for recording vocals. Im a male and i would describe my voice to be like a rock/metal type of voice.
For now i have been recording with a microphone, that came in a bundle with my scarlett 2i2 pre amp. And well, I don’t see myself using that in my new studio room.
So after a long search, i came across Austrian Audio OC18 and for me, it seems one of the best options out there, atleast for under a 1000€ mic.
My other options would of been either of the Neumann Tlms Or Lewitts.
So basically im at crossroads and i have no idea what should i do. Should i go out and buy an expensive mic which would serve me for a long time or should i start off with the cheaper mics on the market?

I would appreciate any kind of guidance!
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:36 pm

A good microphone is pretty much a lifetime investment. Unless you really need more than one right now, then get the best you can.
The challenge is getting the best one for your voice. So I'd suggest either waiting until you can try some out or buying from somewhere with a 'no questions' return policy.
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 17, 2021 1:31 pm

+1, you need to try it, preferably at home.

But, don't rule out an SM58 for rock/metal vocals.

And, you say "I am coming closer to finishing my home studio" if you have been following the forums for a while you'll know the importance of acoustic treatment both for recording and mixing so I'm assuming you have decent acoustic treatment installed?
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby Sam Inglis » Sun Jan 17, 2021 1:40 pm

The Austrian Audio mics are excellent, as indeed are the Lewitt models that I've tried (which is not many). I like the TLM102 too, but I am not a fan of the 103.

But if rock/metal vocals are your main thing, you might also want to consider something like a Shure SM7B. They are very widely used for loud, aggressive vocals and they have the advantage that they can be worked up close, which helps to minimise the pickup of room sound.
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby OWELL » Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:31 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:+1, you need to try it, preferably at home.

But, don't rule out an SM58 for rock/metal vocals.

And, you say "I am coming closer to finishing my home studio" if you have been following the forums for a while you'll know the importance of acoustic treatment both for recording and mixing so I'm assuming you have decent acoustic treatment installed?

Guess it would be smart to try it out first, but there ain’t many options for me in Estonia. Maybe there is a page that would send out mics for try-out.. gotta look in to it.

This is my first time here, but i understand the importance of acoustic treatment. I was going to order acoustic panels and bass traps and then i thought of buying a microphone with the same order and now im kind of stuck. :)
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby OWELL » Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:47 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:The Austrian Audio mics are excellent, as indeed are the Lewitt models that I've tried (which is not many). I like the TLM102 too, but I am not a fan of the 103.

But if rock/metal vocals are your main thing, you might also want to consider something like a Shure SM7B. They are very widely used for loud, aggressive vocals and they have the advantage that they can be worked up close, which helps to minimise the pickup of room sound.

TLM102 was the one i was initially going for, but then i landed on the AA OC18 and it changed my mind.

I think more heavier vocals will come in to play a little later than now. I am still developing as a vocalist, i want to try out anything and everything. So I think having a microphone that would represent my voice as it is would be the best case scenario for now?

But I’ll definitely keep the SM-s in mind, having microphones to choose from would be something to have in the future.
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 17, 2021 3:37 pm

Having a good quality, multi-pattern, LDC in your mic collection is rarely a bad thing.
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby OWELL » Sun Jan 17, 2021 3:42 pm

blinddrew wrote:Having a good quality, multi-pattern, LDC in your mic collection is rarely a bad thing.

Indeed!
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:11 pm

OWELL wrote:
Sam Inglis wrote:The Austrian Audio mics are excellent, as indeed are the Lewitt models that I've tried (which is not many). I like the TLM102 too, but I am not a fan of the 103.

But if rock/metal vocals are your main thing, you might also want to consider something like a Shure SM7B. They are very widely used for loud, aggressive vocals and they have the advantage that they can be worked up close, which helps to minimise the pickup of room sound.

TLM102 was the one i was initially going for, but then i landed on the AA OC18 and it changed my mind.

I think more heavier vocals will come in to play a little later than now. I am still developing as a vocalist, i want to try out anything and everything. So I think having a microphone that would represent my voice as it is would be the best case scenario for now?

But I’ll definitely keep the SM-s in mind, having microphones to choose from would be something to have in the future.

It's critical you understand that if you don't have acoustic treatment, your studio is not "almost finished", it's barely started. These days a studio is primarily the room sound - otherwise you just need a pc. :D You might be surprised how better the Focusrite mic will sound with proper acoustic treatment in place.

That said, the Austrian Audio looks like a great mic and a solid investment, which won't lose its value. It's on my list as well, but there's a few before it (right now, my dilemma is a fet 47 or a tube 47, and I'm eyeing a Bock iFet and a Chandler TG...)

The TLM102, which I have, is also good... it's just no-frills and of course fixed pattern. I have and use all sorts of good mics but it still sees action. The 102 has a bit of that midrange prominence typical of Neumanns, but not as strong as, say, a U87.. .but the highs are _very_ smooth and for modern vocals highs matters a lot, you must be able to put them up without things becoming harsh.

There's so many incredibly good mics nowadays that it's really hard to go for one, unless you've tried and like the sound, or want to try. If you can't try, the Neumann might be easier to shift in case you don't like it, since it's cheaper and the badge is more known outside the audio circles. However, both are good investments, and as such probably the OC is better because the Neumann is an entry point.. though the ones I've seen used here lately all go for quite a bit more than I paid for mine a few years ago. If Neumann stopped producing them, they prices would definitely go up. :D

With a proper room, you'll get great results with both.
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby OWELL » Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:41 pm

CS70 wrote:
OWELL wrote:
Sam Inglis wrote:The Austrian Audio mics are excellent, as indeed are the Lewitt models that I've tried (which is not many). I like the TLM102 too, but I am not a fan of the 103.

But if rock/metal vocals are your main thing, you might also want to consider something like a Shure SM7B. They are very widely used for loud, aggressive vocals and they have the advantage that they can be worked up close, which helps to minimise the pickup of room sound.

TLM102 was the one i was initially going for, but then i landed on the AA OC18 and it changed my mind.

I think more heavier vocals will come in to play a little later than now. I am still developing as a vocalist, i want to try out anything and everything. So I think having a microphone that would represent my voice as it is would be the best case scenario for now?

But I’ll definitely keep the SM-s in mind, having microphones to choose from would be something to have in the future.

It's critical you understand that if you don't have acoustic treatment, your studio is not "almost finished", it's barely started. These days a studio is primarily the room sound - otherwise you just need a pc. :D You might be surprised how better the Focusrite mic will sound with proper acoustic treatment in place.

That said, the Austrian Audio looks like a great mic and a solid investment, which won't lose its value. It's on my list as well, but there's a few before it (right now, my dilemma is a fet 47 or a tube 47, and I'm eyeing a Bock iFet and a Chandler TG...)

The TLM102, which I have, is also good... it's just no-frills and of course fixed pattern. I have and use all sorts of good mics but it still sees action. The 102 has a bit of that midrange prominence typical of Neumanns, but not as strong as, say, a U87.. .but the highs are _very_ smooth and for modern vocals highs matters a lot, you must be able to put them up without things becoming harsh.

There's so many incredibly good mics nowadays that it's really hard to go for one, unless you've tried and like the sound, or want to try. If you can't try, the Neumann might be easier to shift in case you don't like it, since it's cheaper and the badge is more known outside the audio circles. However, both are good investments, and as such probably the OC is better because the Neumann is an entry point.. though the ones I've seen used here lately all go for quite a bit more than I paid for mine a few years ago. If Neumann stopped producing them, they prices would definitely go up. :D

With a proper room, you'll get great results with both.

Haha, you are right. I have been building this room since summer, so it has been a long time coming. Now that im closer to wiping the dust off my pants and moving all of my stuff in the room, i consider it being almost finished. :D
I will certainly hold myself accountable for treating the room the best i can. Im probably gonna end up asking for help from the SOS community here, but we’ll see how the work flows.

Having so many microphones to choose from is just crazy. So many reviews and opinions, that at the end of the day, you just gotta go with the one you find the most pleasing to your ears.
And if worst comes to worst and for some reason I don’t like the microphone, im sure I wouldn’t have a problem selling it.

Anyway, thank you for this detailed response!
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:10 pm

CS70 wrote:right now, my dilemma is a fet 47 or a tube 47,

At the risk of diverting this thread...

I've tried both side by side and I didn't feel the need to spend the money on a tube 47. However a U87 is more useful than either.

To go back to the original question - those Austrian Audio mics look interesting and would certainly be on my shortlist if I was looking for a mic in that price range.
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby Aled Hughes » Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:11 pm

I bought a pair of the Austrian Audio OC818 a few months ago and I'm extremely pleased with them. Great all-rounders.

Bear in mind that the 818 is the multi-pattern, and the 18 is the (cheaper) fixed cardioid.

Neumann they are not, but neither are any AKG-style mics. That's not to say they're inferior. We have two early 70s U87s at the studio, and whilst I think they're great and use them a lot, the Austrians are just as useful and see just as much action.

We also have a good few AKG C414 B-ULS (discontinued) and a pair of C414-XLS (current), which would be closer to the Austrian Audios, but I haven't come round to comparing them yet. I like both 414 variants though, although the B-ULS seem to have a little extra something over the XLS.


The Shure SM7 is a popular vocal mic, and an useful one to have around. But if we're talking high-quality dynamics, I find the Beyerdynamic M88 to be more useful on more sources, as well being a great vocal mic. Same goes for the M201, though the M88 is perhaps slightly more flattering for voices, Great bass drum mic too!
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:33 pm

James Perrett wrote:
CS70 wrote:right now, my dilemma is a fet 47 or a tube 47,

At the risk of diverting this thread...

I've tried both side by side and I didn't feel the need to spend the money on a tube 47. However a U87 is more useful than either.

Thank you, that is helpful coming from you - as there's surprisingly little comparisons between the two versions that are worth listening to. I like the Chandler idea because of the many sonic options, but in a way I dislike it for the same reason.. I like my stuff simple :D

I have and use an 87 already - the reason for the 47 is because on some material I find the midrange of the 87 a bit much, and the 47s I've tried are generally gentler and more "rounded", if I can say so.

The Neumann 47 reissue is a bit too pricey while the Chandler I'm looking at (second hand but in perfect state) is definitely a good score! The Bock is a bit of a wild card, I heard great things but (since it's also used) can't really try it much..
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby Sam Inglis » Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:59 pm

CS70 wrote:I have and use an 87 already - the reason for the 47 is because on some material I find the midrange of the 87 a bit much, and the 47s I've tried are generally gentler and more "rounded", if I can say so.

In that case you would probably like the Austrian Audio mics -- they have a very balanced mid-range.

I've tried a FET 47 a couple of times and thought it was pretty underwhelming if I'm honest. I'd agree with James that a U87 is more useful unless you want an expensive bass drum mic.
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Re: Going down the rabbit hole of choosing a new microphone

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:01 pm

CS70 wrote:I have and use an 87 already - the reason for the 47 is because on some material I find the midrange of the 87 a bit much, and the 47s I've tried are generally gentler and more "rounded", if I can say so.

I'd agree with that. It may also be worth saying that the fet and the tube version didn't sound identical when I tried them but the difference was small and could almost certainly be overcome by a little eq.

Apologies for another diversion.
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